April 30, 2010

Wiki Friday: Canadian immigration

Holy crap:

Statistics Canada projects that, by 2031, almost one-half of the population over the age of 15 will be foreign-born. The number of visible minorities will double and make up the majority of the population of cities in Canada.

Where are they from?

In 2006, Canada received 236,756 immigrants. The top ten sending countries, by state of origin, were

1. People’s Rpublic of China (28,896)

2. India (28,520)

3. Philippines (19,718)

4. Pakistan (9,808)

5. United States (8,750)

6. United Kingdom (7,324)

7. Iran (7,195)

8. South Korea (5,909)

9. Colombia (5,328)

10. Sri Lanka (4,068)

The top ten source countries were followed closely by France (4,026), and Morocco (4,025), with Romania, Russia, and Algeria each contributing over 3,500 immigrants.

How do we choose which ones to let in?

In Canada there are three categories of immigrants:

1. Family Class (closely related persons of Canadian residents)

2. Independent Immigrants (admitted on the basis of a point system that account for age, health and labour-market skills required for cost effectively inducting the immigrants into Canada's white-collar or blue-collar labour market), and

3. Refugees seeking protection by applying to remain in Canada.

In 2008, there were 65,567 immigrants in the family class,149,072 economic immigrants, and 21,860 refugees.


How do they become citizens?

Under Canadian nationality law an immigrant can apply for citizenship after living in Canada for 1095 days (3 years) in any 4 year period.


Fun fact:

One of the largest groups to immigrate to Canada were the Scottish. The first Canadian prime minister, John A. Macdonald, was a Scot from Glasgow. His successor, Alexander Mackenzie, was also born in Scotland.

April 29, 2010

How to be unimpressed in Darija

Ana åyana.
I'm tired.

Ma bghit shi nahdar.
I don't want to talk.

Safi, mshi.
Go away.

Khalini biwahdi.
Leave me alone.

W qaf.

Baraka ma tahdar måya.
Stop talking to me.

Ma kayhimni shi.
I'm not interested.

Ma shi shughli.
I don't care.

April 26, 2010

"So, what's your story?"

An American visits our printmaking class. He is the guest lecturer for Tetouan's "poster festival." He speaks no French or Arabic, so he inevitably gravitates toward me, the only English-speaker in the class.

"So, what's your story?"

And you know what? I tell him, with ease. Some things will be very hard in North America, but chatting--this will be easy.

April 23, 2010

Wiki Friday: Ryanair

Kind of romantic, actually:

The airline began with a 15-seat aircraft, flying between Waterford and London Gatwick with the aim of breaking the duopoly on London-Republic of Ireland flights at that time, held by British Airways and Aer Lingus.

In 1986, the company added a second route – flying Dublin-Luton International Airport, in direct competition to the BA/Aer Lingus duopoly for the first time. Under partial EU Deregulation, airlines could begin new international intra-EU services, as long as at least one of the two governments gave approval (the so-called "double-disapproval" regime). The Irish government at the time refused its approval, in order to protect Aer Lingus, but Britain, under Thatcher’s pro-free-market Conservative government, approved the service.

With two routes and two planes, the fledgling airline began.

But seriously, how is it so cheap?

1. online booking

The airline launched its website in 2000, with online booking initially said to be a small and unimportant part of the software supporting the site. Increasingly the online booking contributed to the aim of cutting flight prices by selling direct to passengers and excluding the costs imposed by travel agents. Within a year the website was handling three-quarters of all bookings. Today it is only possible to book seats via the website or via the "Ryanair direct" call-centre.

2.. september 11th

In 2001, the airline ordered 155 new Boeing 737-800 series aircraft at what was believed to be a substantial discount, taking full advantage of the downturn in aeroplane orders after the slump in air travel following the September 2001 aircraft attacks in the United States, to be delivered over eight years from 2002 to 2010.

3. the EU

In 1992, the European Union’s deregulation of the air industry in Europe gave carriers from one EU country the right to operate scheduled services between other EU states and represented a major opportunity for Ryanair.

4. sell other stuff to passengers

Much of Ryanair's revenue is generated from ancillary revenue that is income from other sources than ticket fares. In 2009 ancillary revenue was at €598 million, compared to a total revenue of €2,942 million.

5. simplify the plane

New Ryanair aircraft have been delivered with non-reclining vinyl seats, no seat-back pockets, safety cards stuck on the back of the seats, and life jackets stowed overhead rather than under the seat. This allows the airline to save on aircraft costs and enables faster cleaning and safety checks during the short turnaround times. It was reported in various media that Ryanair wanted to order their aircraft without window shades; however, the new aircraft do have them as it is required by the regulations of the Irish Aviation Authority.

6. make the airports compete

Ryanair negotiates extremely aggressive contracts with its airports, demanding very low landing and handling fees, as well as financial assistance with marketing and promotional campaigns. In subsequent contract renewal negotiations, the airline plays airports off against each other, threatening to withdraw services and deploy the aircraft elsewhere, if the airport does not make further concessions.

7. don’t fly to major hubs

Ryanair prefers to fly to smaller or secondary airports to reduce costs and fees. For example Ryanair does not fly to the main Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. It instead flies to Beauvais, 85 km from Paris.

Still, it’s incredible.

Wiki Friday: Sweden

1. landscapes and self-identification

Sweden has 25 provinces or landskap (landscapes), based on culture, geography and history. While these provinces serve no political or administrative purpose, they play an important role for people's self-identification.

2. talent, technology, and tolerance

According to the book, The Flight of the Creative Class, by the U.S. economist Professor Richard Florida, Sweden is ranked as having the best creativity in Europe for business and is predicted to become a talent magnet for the world's most purposeful workers. The book compiled an index to measure the kind of creativity it claims is most useful to business—talent, technology and tolerance.

3. equal and developed

After World War II a succession of governments increased the welfare state and the tax burden, and Sweden's GDP per capita ranking fell from the 4th to 14th place. However during this time Sweden radically changed from a divided and often extremely unequal society into one of the most equal and developed on earth. The consistent growth of the welfare state led to Swedes achieving unprecedented levels of social mobility and quality of life—to this day Sweden consistently ranks at the top of league tables for health, literacy and Human Development—far ahead of some much wealthier countries (for example the United States).

4. happy exceptions: food, transportation, and books

Since the late 1960s, Sweden has had the highest tax quota in the industrialized world. In addition, a national VATof 25% is added to many things bought by private citizens, with the exception of food (12% VAT), transportation, and books (6% VAT).

5. not content with providing its own citizens with free university, it offers it to everyone in the world, too

There are a number of different universities and colleges in Sweden. Only a few countries such as Canada, the US, Japan, and South Korea have higher levels of tertiary education degree holders. Along with several other European countries, the government also subsidises tuition of international students pursuing a degree at Swedish institutions, although there has been talk of this being changed.

6. do what you want, with whomever you want

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Sweden was seen as an international leader in what is now referred to as the “sexual revolution,” with gender equality having particularly been promoted. The number of single people is one of the highest in the world. Sweden has also become, in recent decades, fairly liberal regarding homosexuality, as is reflected in the popular acceptance of films such as Show Me Love, which is about two young lesbians in the small Swedish town of Åmål. Since 1 May 2009, Sweden repealed its "registered partnership" laws and fully replaced them with gender-neutral marriage.

April 21, 2010

There's a Christian in my class!

His name is Christian, that is. He's Argentinean, and his father has a coffee machine company which brings the family to Morocco. 

Between Galapagos and here, my classes have been painfully mono-cultural. I miss teaching in Vancouver, with students from Mexico, Turkey, France, and Poland. Even in Saudi, I had students from Colombia and Peru. The conversations that stemmed from, "Well, in my country..." were countless and wonderful.

At last, diversity!

April 17, 2010

#17 of Things I'll Miss About Morocco

Tout le plaisir est pour moi de te revoir, amuse toi bien dans ton voyage...Et c avec joie que je t'attendrai pour boir un thé, gros bisous et bon voyage.

#17: Flowery French texts

April 16, 2010

Wiki Friday: Roses

In Andalusian choir, we sang a song:

...fi kul alward, alward, wa susani
min afnani, bustani
ughanilak, ughanilak, ughanilak

The last line is, "I sing for you, I sing for you, I sing for you," and before that, "in each rose, each rose," and other flowers in the garden. "Kul" is each. "alward" is "the rose."

Imagine my surprise today, in discovering that these two words, "rose" and "ward," have the same root. Rose comes from French, itself from Latin, rosa, which was borrowed from Greek, rhodion, which in Aeolic was wrodion, which came from Old Persian, wurdi. In Arabic, ward is the singular (one rose), and wurud is the plural (roses). You can see the word morphing along with time. So cool.

Rose trivia:

In Rome, a wild rose was placed on the door of a room where secret of confidential matters were discussed. The phrase sub rosa, or "under the rose," means to keep a secret.

Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
--James Oppenheim

Here in Morocco, I buy a lot of bread, and a lot of roses.

April 12, 2010


Soup and salad at the nameless place around the corner: 10 dirhams

A pirated copy of New Moon: 13 dirhams

Dinner and a movie watched with my roomie, without leaving the comfort of a two-block radius: priceless.

After two weeks on the road, it's good to be "home."